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Overlanding Safety Tips

Contributed By Liz Rodriguez

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Liz Rodriguez is the creator of Sh*t We Learned Overlanding, a journey of escapades while living and working on the road and tips learned along the way.

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I’m not going to lie. When we first started to Overland I was nervous about safety. That is literally one of the main reasons we went with a rooftop tent. I had visions of animals breaking into our tent in the middle of the night and I wanted to make it more difficult for them to reach us.

As we began to travel to areas of the country we hadn’t been before we realized we needed to create some best practices for ourselves. Below are a few things to keep in mind when venturing out.

Be Mindful of Surroundings

When you are exposed to the outside you become more acutely aware of your surroundings. When we stayed in more remote spots we would review the site for animal tracks and make sure to introduce ourselves to any nearby campers. This is especially important on public land where there is no check-in process or patrol of the area.

We did have an instance in Oregon when we wound up leaving a public land spot due to there being numerous people there with guns and a lot of alcohol in their vehicles. Also be aware of staying off of a busy highway. If you don’t feel like the spot looks safe move on. When we stayed in newer areas closer to larger cities or towns we would make a habit of looking up the area to see what the crime was like as well.

Make It Hard For Them

These are a few tips that we learned at the last Overlanding Expo we went to. The couple doing the presentation stressed the importance of adding padlocks to your vehicle to make it look more difficult to break into. Whether it’s adding a cable or two or even zip ties, you want someone to have to work on getting anything off of your vehicle. This is especially important for those of us who carry a lot of items on the outside of the car such as fuel and water cans, supply boxes and our Maxtrax. You can also invest in a motion sensor so that you can help to deter animals during the night.

Solo Traveler Tips

If you plan on traveling by yourself these are a few tricks of the trade. First and foremost make sure to keep keys with you at all times, especially when you are sleeping in case you need to turn the car on or your alarm to scare off animals or people. You can also leave out 2 pairs of shoes outside the tent or trailer so that it seems like there is more than one person at camp. This also works by leaving out dog bowls with water and food. Lastly, always let a few people know where you are at and when you plan on checking in with them again.

Odds and Ends

These are just a few simple tips that are good rules of thumb. When you are in bear country, carry bear spray. And also make sure you know how to use it! A Garmin inReach is super smart to have if you are going to be off the grid for awhile so that you can still have contact with the outside world. You will need a subscription to use so make sure it’s all set up before you leave an area with WiFi. Having air horns handy is great for when you are at camp or out exploring. We have super small ones we can keep on us and carry in our pocket. We also have long range walkie talkies we carry on us when we are apart from each other in case we need to notify the other person of anything. Make sure devices are charged at all times. And lastly, park your vehicle so it faces the exit of your campground or public land in case you need to leave in a hurry.

These are just a few tips to get you started with safety and Overlanding. Being out on the road is exciting and I encourage you to try it for yourself. But it’s also important to be smart about it and follow safety measures. I hope you enjoyed this lesson! As always feel free to forward to a friend and if you haven’t, please make sure to subscribe so you are notified every time a cool new lesson drops!

Liz Rodriguez is the creator of Sh*t We Learned Overlanding, a journey of escapades while living and working on the road and tips learned along the way.